In the summer I was planning to travel to Spain and teach after I had completed a TEFL qualification but because it was the summer most of the schools were closed. Fortunately, I found another opportunity. Nino González-Aller runs a great program where families host an English speaker, offering free accommodation and food in exchange for helping them improve their English. In my case, I was posted to Valladolid for two months where I taught the kids English for a few hours a day. They were at school for a few weeks at first so I got the chance to practice my Spanish with the parents during this time and explore the area. I normally spoke English at mealtimes as well, but then parents were happy to help me with my Spanish the rest of the time, even when the kids were back home. Pilar and Javier couldn’t have made me feel more welcome. The food was excellent: Pilar was a superb cook, and I ate like a true Spaniard. The community in Simancas was really friendly, and there was a huge barbecue organised to celebrate summer. The weather was hot nearly all the time, and many days were spent relaxing around the pool! I got a chance to travel, to Salamanca, Madrid, and even Pamplona for the San Fermín festival.
Towards the end of my stay, I accompanied the family on a beach holiday near Murcia. The experience was fantastic, and I still keep in touch with the family. Not only did it help me improve my Spanish, and it gave me a unique insight into the Spanish culture. Matching people who want to see some of Spain, and families who are keen to improve their English is a great win-win.